After one 1 year as interim product owner of NextStep, building an engineering team and a beta product that would eventually raise $3 million in seed funding and on-board its first customer, the story was over. At least my chapter.
Like every great startup — a napkin drawing is presented from one entrepreneur to another. Synergies activate and today’s vision turns into “I need it done yesterday!”
These are simple beginnings with complex whiteboard drawings.
The role of a product owner is to discover and extract business requirements from a founder’s vision and to define the problems of an identified target market.
Empathy is key. Saying “no” more than “yes” and asking “why” more than “what” will make the difference. Working with great engineers, product designers, and product managers will make the job easy.
If done right, you might then turn vaporware into downloads and stoke a surplus of 🔥 emojis into the #product_team slack channel.
Our team’s responsibility was to build a prototype, demo prototype to potential investors and customers, iterate and refactor this to build the right minimum viable product, demo MVP to board of investors, pivot directions and build the right beta product to on-board our first customer.
We continued this evolution of customer discovery and product delivery day-in and day-out.
Once we found traction, we grew a bigger team and set bigger OKRs.
What began as a founder contracting our boutique software engineering firm to set up a trello board and to build a prototype, turned into a high growth startup with HR policies, board meetings, and the need to bring product leadership and the technology stack in-house.
It was time to raise a Series A, which meant it was time for NextStep to hire a CTO that would eventually take over product ownership and build an internal engineering team.
It was time for me to give away my job — 14 months in and right when things were heating up.
Initially, I was heavyhearted. I had embedded myself within their team, pulled many late nights, and worked too hard to let go so easy. There was a great vision and team to be apart of.
Remember, I was only the “interim” product owner, a contractor. Short hand for “here until we grow big enough to replace you.” But this is where everything comes full circle. Giving away my job, is my job.
At Triple Tree, it is our mission to work with talented founders and CEOs to accelerate software engineering and product development. We embed our team inside opportune high growth startups, owning product, and leading engineering and design to turn that initial napkin drawing into revenue.
If done successfully, on-boarding our replacements is inevitable. This is our lifecycle as a product development accelerator. This is where we stand out.
I now watch NextStep’s mobile education app train job seekers to become CNA’s from a short distance away as our boutique software engineering firm still services lead engineering, product design, and product management for their growing team.
As I walk from my desk to a new cup of coffee, there is a zoom conference call of sorts with an engineering stand up or product design meeting to overhear and smile.
The next bench mark is Series A funding and I will be ecstatic to watch our client and team materialize this objective.
Following an information share with the new CTO, a transfer of sprint planning meetings, stand ups, and product ownership, what is next?
I have moved on to the next project, with our exceptional engineering team, starting again from a napkin drawing and the expectation of building a beta product that will eventually raise millions in seed funding and on-board its first customer.
And although there are many chapters ahead, when the opportunity presents itself to give away my job, I will. Again, heavyhearted, and with a great vision and team to be apart of.